Mr. Mercedes (Bill Hodges #1) by Stephen King (4 out of 5)

I love Stephen King. There, I said it. I also have to be totally honest here. There ARE books of his where the ending is utter BS and those books usually sour me to the point I don’t read him for a long time. Two different customers talked to me about the Bill Hodges series recently, then I found the first book (this very one) on super sale at Half Price Books for $2.00. Even with my employee discount, you can’t beat THAT price. So I took the plunge. This is the first book, and I’m a big fan of Retired Detective Bill Hodges already. Jerome and Holly, his unplanned for support system, are a hoot as well. I hope King doesn’t pull some crap and do away with either of them. I’m also glad he didn’t hurt the animal. You’ll know what I mean when you read it. If he had, I very well may have bailed on this one. But, as I said, a real evil presence in this one, and a great start to his Bill Hodges trilogy.

City Center is the scene for a job fair promising 1,000 jobs to be filled. Quite a crowd has gathered, and as daylight begins, a grey Mercedes suddenly seems to appear out of nowhere. It revs up, its yellow headlights go into power mode, and it speeds into the crowd of people, already squashed like sardines. Eight people are killed, and many more injured. The driver escapes and is never apprehended. Months later, retired Detective Bill Hodges is sitting in his LaZy Boy recliner, eating crap, and enjoying the period of afternoon retirement television, when he receives a letter from the killer (Mercedes Killer, Mercedes Man, Mr. Mercedes, all terms are applicable here) taunting him and referring to the “suicide” of one Olivia Trelawney, whose Mercedes had been stolen and was the killer automobile. He’s told to open an account on a social media sites called “Debbie’s Blue Umbrella” and provided with an account name, to further correspondence with Mr. Mercedes. Bill takes the bait, and realized that the nutso is planning to do something similar AGAIN. He ends up recruiting his landscaper Jerome, as well as a depressed computer genius named Holly, to help him crack the code and try to stop this. Because this IS Stephen King, you have to realize that there are more deaths, a lot of gruesome imagery, some unorthodox technology, dark humor, and yes, some heart bearing behind the story. The trio of unlikely crimestoppers are a lot of fun, considering the clock is ticking madly on another mass homicide, and the story only bogs down a bit in the middle, with a memorial service and family fighting over inheritance money. And although it does have some part in the plot regarding the introduction of Holly to the team, it still brings the action in the book down to a Laverne & Shirley rerun level. No thanks. Happily, the action comes back quickly, and the reader is hooked until the end. Great start to a new series. 

~ by generationgbooks on July 10, 2017.

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